BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The future of the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine was decided Friday after an advisory committee met to go over the latest information about the vaccine which caused 15 women to develop blood clots. Three of the women died.
The committee recommended people 18 and older could get the vaccine again. Women under 50 are advised to be aware of the possibility of blood clots.
Before the pause in vaccinations, almost eight million people received the J&J COVID vaccine.
Still, the CDC and the FDA wanted time to give information to doctors about what they should look for and treat the clots.
Many health leaders in Alabama hope the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine can return to the marketplace and help fight the pandemic.
“There are a lot of people, it’s just hard to get them in for two doses. It’s hard for transportation. There may be other factors involved,” said UAB VP of Clinical Services Dr. Sarah Nafziger.
Dr. Michael Saag at UAB says the percentage of those getting the blood clots remains low.
“Every vaccine, every drug we take has risk. Tylenol can lead to liver failure in certain settings if it’s not taken properly or there is some untoward event,” Saag said
The advisory committee looked at various options that included coming with restrictions or warnings on who can take the vaccine. Doctors could advise people at the highest risk to stay clear of it.
Dr. Saag said he hopes to see the return of the vaccine, but he praises the decision to put it on hold for study and information.
“The FDC and CDC, they are doing their job. They are monitoring for side effects, just like they promised they would do. When they saw a signal, they didn’t sweep it under the rug, they took it head on,” Dr. Saag said.